According to Virginia law, determining paternity in Fairfax child custody cases can be done in a number of ways. If a child is born while two people are married, the presumption by law is that it is a child of that marriage. Biologically that is not always the case.

If there is a case where a child is born in a family and the husband is not actually the biological father, it is possible to establish by scientific tests that somebody else is the father of that child. Contact an experienced child custody attorney for any questions you may have before beginning a case involving paternity.

Determining Paternity

Unless the parties agree to determine paternity in Fairfax child custody cases, the court will assume that any child that was born is the child of the husband in that relationship. If there is no marriage, the issue of paternity can be decided if the father finds acknowledged of paternity, which is a signed and notarized statement saying, “Yes, I am the father.” Otherwise, a person can come into the court and request a paternity test to confirm the biological connection between himself and the child.

Administering Paternity Tests

It used to be that paternity tests were done by drawing blood. However, with scientific advancements being what they are, paternity tests are now less invasive. They can be done by a swab of the mouth of the child and the parents.

There are some cases where a court will order a paternity test and the parties will go to the location ordered by the court. However, it is also possible to seek paternity results on one’s own, because there are services that the general public can access that will perform the same test. The test is a swab of the inside of the child’s mouth and the inside of the mouth of the parent who is trying to be matched.

Paternity testing is done through a lab. It may depend on the situation, but parties in the case where paternity is an issue will be sent to some sort of lab for testing. The reason for that is that the lab environment is one that will provide accurate results. It is also because there has to be a process for verification of the identity of the person having the test taken.

Legal Implications of Paternity Test Results in Fairfax

If a paternity test showed a high degree of certainty – usually 99% or more – that the person in question is the parent, an order of paternity will be entered. Legally, that person will be and remain the parent of that child. With that come obligation related to support. Once paternity is established, the court can enter an order directing that support be paid for the maintenance of the child.

There are some circumstances where a person might be required to pay child support even if the results of the paternity test indicate that they are not biologically related to the child. Those circumstances are when a father has signed an acknowledgement of paternity and knew, at the time that they signed that acknowledgement, that they were not the parent of that child. The court still can and typically will require them to be financially responsible for that child.

In terms of legal rights to inheritance, if a child is established legally to be the child of a parent, then that child will also have rights to the estate of the parents upon their death.That is another financial impact to consider

Visitation Rights Entitled to a Father

A father has rights to see their child. The real question to consider is how much the father gets to see the child. That is a question that will be answered by the court after the court reviews the evidence and evaluates the various factor when determining the best interests of the child or the children. Typically, all parents have the right to access to their children so long as it does not pose a danger for the children.

Impact of a Child’s Age

There is no age limit for purposes of assessing or contesting paternity. However, if the purpose of the person asking for a paternity test is because they do not want to be on the hook for child support, then that person needs to seek relief of paternity before the child turns 18. Once the child is 18 and has been emancipated, there is nothing that person can do to get out of that obligation.

Considering Tests for Custody

Any father who is not 100 percent sure that they are the parent of the child should consider taking a paternity test. If people do not agree to determine paternity in Fairfax child custody cases, they risk never being able to erase child support that may be established.

If a father is not sure that they are the parent and they take no actions to confirm that they are the parent, they cannot come back many years later and undo the actions of the court. If there is any doubt that a particular person is a parent of the child, the time to ask is right away.

Hiring a Lawyer

The process for establishing or disestablishing paternity can be complicated. An attorney could help someone navigate that system. In addition, it is very important for a person facing this issue to understand completely what their rights are and the importance of the timing of challenging paternity if it is necessary.